The Emperor of Ice Cream

May 31, 2002

According to my calendar summer begins on the 21st of June. However, with about three weeks to go before that date, summer, as far as I’m concerned, is already underway. The days are hot, the nights are warm, and my arms are covered with scabs from mosquito bites that I, like an obsessive compulsive, insist on scratching.

Most importantly of all, though, is the fact that the ice cream truck has been going through my neighborhood on a daily basis, playing synthesized versions of "Clementine" and "Do your ears hang low"–both at the same time.

I remember the first thing I got from the ice cream truck: a snowcone. I had no idea what a snowcone was, and I was too young to read. I just pointed at the picture of the rainbow colored mountain climber on the side of the truck and said, "One of those please," and ended up with a paper cone full of shaved ice and purple sugar water. Tasting the snowcone I was shocked and dismayed to learn one of life’s cruel truths: advertising is dishonest and manipulative.

Needless to say I never got a snowcone again, but then thinking you want something and then discovering it’s not what you thought is all part of growing up. I thought I wanted a snowcone, I thought I wanted to go to school, I thought it would be fun to run away from the circus and join a "normal" family…but I digress.

One day, three or four summers after the snowcone incident, I was waiting in line next to the ice cream truck waiting to get a whipple-ripple-chocolate-chip cone and I heard a kid who was about as old as I had been when I tried my first and last snowcone say, "I was in Florida with my folks and the ice cream truck came there. The ice cream man drives all around the whole world every day." I thought I’d make myself look big and smart, so I said, "That’s stupid. Nobody can drive around the world. There’s a different ice cream man in every state." Not only did I fail to earn the respect and admiration of my peers, but I trampled over the kind, gentle beliefs of a small child. I might as well have told him Santa Claus had retired to Barbados, somebody shot the Easter Bunny, and that the Tooth Fairy ground up the teeth she took and that was what talcum powder was made of. Actually I did tell him all that, since my revelation about the ice cream man hadn’t had its desired effect. All I wanted to do was make myself look smart, but I ended up looking cruel and making him so depressed and cynical he probably grew up to become an advertising executive and find new ways to trick small children into buying snowcones. Well, the cycle of life goes on.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Note: Some time back I asked for people to "name" the Freethinkers columns, rants, digressions, diatribes, tirades, exhortations, declamations, screeds, pontifications, disquisitions, spiels, or philippics. To the sole respondent, the gentleman with the webcam, thank you for making me rethink my position on freedom of speech, and for the fact that I’ll never be able to look at a cockatiel without shuddering. All I wanted was to get some idea of how far my epistles were going into the world. Maybe next time I’ll offer a prize.


Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, "We only have one rule here in heaven – don’t step on the ducks."

So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one.

Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw. St. Peter chains them together and says, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to this ugly man!"

The next day, the second woman accidentally steps on a duck, and along comes St. Peter, who doesn’t miss a thing, and with him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together.

The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where she steps. She manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to her with the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on …very tall, tan, muscular, and with good hair. St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

The woman remarks, "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?" And the guy says, "Well, I don’t know what you did, but I stepped on a duck."


Three elderly ladies are excited about their first Yankees baseball game. They smuggled a bottle of Jack Daniel’s into the game.

The game is real exciting and they are enjoying themselves drinking Jack Daniel’s mixed with soft drinks.

Soon they realize that the bottle of Jack Daniel’s is almost gone and the game has a lot of innings to go.

Using the clues given, what inning is the game in, and what is the status of the game?

Think!

Think some more!

You’re gonna love it ……..

And the answer is:

It’s the bottom of the fifth and the bags are loaded!

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